Doctors at Chattogram Medical College Hospital (CMCH) could not register their attendance yesterday, as connections to eight biometric fingerprint scanners at the Chattogram Medical College (CMC) were snapped “mysteriously” the previous night.
The incident came on a day when the Chattogram chapter of Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) observed a symbolic abstention programme from biometric attendance at all government hospitals in Chattogram, protesting a government decision.
On September 3, the Directorate General of Health Services issued a letter asking authorities concerned to send six months’ information of biometric attendance of doctors, among other matters, for consideration of promotion as senior consultant and junior consultant.
BMA leaders said they did not disconnect any biometric machine either at the medical college or in the hospital.
On Tuesday, BMA leaders sent text messages to all doctors in Chattogram not to put attendance through biometric system on Wednesday, as part of a symbolic boycott, said sources.
However, doctors were present at the hospital and attended to patients.
“It is mandatory for all doctors at government hospitals to register attendance through biometric system as per directive of the government. We introduced the system in Chattogram Medical College and Hospital some four months ago,” said Selim Muhammad Jahangir, principal of CMC. “The system has been continuing since then.”
“I was informed that the connection of all the eight fingerprint scanners at CMC were snapped on Tuesday night mysteriously,” he said, adding, “Teachers and post-graduate students of CMC could not put in their attendance today (Wednesday) for this reason.”
“I saw the machines, which were disconnected and covered with cloth,” he said.
“I have informed the ministry through a letter along with pictures of the snapped machines, and asked for cooperation to reconnect those,” he said.
Asked who may have disconnected the machines, Jahangir said he had no idea about it.
“I got a text message from BMA about their symbolic programme of boycotting biometric machines on Tuesday night,” he said.
Contacted, CMCH deputy director Akterul Islam said no machine was disconnected at the hospital. Asked, whether the doctors put their attendance through biometric system, he said, “We would look into it tomorrow.”
A professor of the hospital, preferring anonymity, said they could not put their attendance by registering their fingerprint as the machines were disconnected and covered with cloth.
“Usually we put attendance twice a day -- one while coming in and another for leaving; but today we could not put the arrival attendance,” he said, adding that he managed to sign out biometrically through another fingerprint scanner at the hospital.
Contacted, Faisal Iqbal Chowdhury, general secretary of BMA’s Chattogram chapter, said no machine was either disconnected or covered by them at CMCH.
“Those who told you that lied,” he told this correspondent yesterday, adding, “We observed a symbolic programme of boycotting biometric attendance today, protesting the ministry’s order to consider biometric attendance of doctors for promotion, which is sheer discrimination compared to other service cadres.”
“There are 26 cadres in public service but biometric attendance is not considered for promotion in any of the cadres,” he said.